Today: Jun 25, 2024

New England weather: Mackenzie’s Word on dangerous weather

Mackenzie Hurlbert – Copy Editor

A hurricane for Halloween, a nor’easter in November, what else does this winter have in store for us? Who else will crash the party along with Sandy and Athena? This crazy weather has to be caused by something. It’s not normal for such severe weather to occur so frequently, right? Some may go all apocalyptic and say it’s the end of the world, but I blame global warming. There’s no way we suffered from a tropical storm in September and an October snow storm last year, and then a hurricane for Halloween and a nor’easter this year by coincidence.

No matter the cause, these storms are dangerous. Power outages are the least of people’s worries as trees crash through houses and live wires decorate the yards. On campus it’s a matter of safety on the walkways. After the snowfall last week, the steps to Brownell were left icy and covered with snow until it melted off by 3 p.m. Heading to class last Wednesday, I almost fell while crossing the bridge by the student center, and then face planted while walking up the hill from the library—that was my fault though… I was wearing Converse and having a snowball fight. Nevertheless, we need a quicker response from the facilities on campus when clearing and putting ice-melt on walkways. The slippery pavement and icy steps are ingredients for disaster if not taken care of quickly and adequately.

Photo Courtesy | abc.com
Cleaning of snow covered cars came early this year with the snow storm the greater New England area received last week.

For those off campus, commuters and faculty alike, roads and traffic are probably the biggest safety concerns. My boyfriend is a commuter, and last Wednesday, when campus closed around 3 p.m., the roads looked messy already. I was scared for him and other commuting friends knowing the dangerous weather conditions they would have to face while driving home. My boyfriend did get home safe, but it took him double the time it usually does to get home and at one point while going 25 mph, he slid off the road a little ways. I’m glad the university closed for the sake of safety, but I wish it had happened sooner considering there was already a good amount of snow and slush on the ground. Faculty and staff must be thought of also because they too put their lives at risk when driving in such conditions.

When deciding to close campus or not, it’s necessary that university officials consider all safety concerns pertaining to both commuters and residents. When it comes to cancellations, please don’t push the decision to the last minute. Don’t put student’s lives at risk because of your indecisiveness. I’m sure you want the best for Southern as a community, so when the threat of inclement weather proves true, make the best decision and don’t delay

Along with the response prior to storms, the cleanup afterwards should not have been as delayed as it was last week. The Brownell stairs were dangerous, and as mounds of compacted snow turned to ice, you had to practically cling to the railing to keep from falling. The bridge is a menace every year when it comes to cold weather. With cold air going under and over it and any precipitation, it’s guaranteed to by extremely slippery and dangerous. If the delayed response is an issue of employees driving in to work, why not hire a couple students who are already here to do it or find volunteers from the Service Club or other community service organizations? Our parents have probably all coerced us to shovel at home, so what’s the difference of doing it here?  Along with shoveling steps and walkways, it would help to spread ice-melt in order to avoid any build-up of ice.

I’m thankful for the hard work and consideration our university officials and campus workers do when preparing for a storm, but I hope next time the response to both the arrival of the storm and its aftermath won’t be as delayed.

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